The Weekly Word
Reflections on The Sunday Service for Children
By Brenda Hammond
I left my beloved Richmond Hill community to come to Ottawa and give day-care to my grandson, who was about to turn one year old. He is now thirteen, and his younger brother eleven. They do not attend a Waldorf school, and so don’t experience the soul-nourishment the curriculum would provide. And, of course, they’re very much into video games and all that modern technology offers.
But once every two months or so, I am blessed by hosting the Act of Consecration in my home. Although my grandsons are the only attendees, Jonah generously agreed to hold the Children’s Service for them.
They arrive early, bringing plenty of youthful energy along with them. When it’s time, and all is ready, they head down the stairs followed by one or two of their parents, to the basement where we have our makeshift chapel. Reinhard in his long white robes, greets them at the door at the base of the stairwell, takes each one’s hand, looks him in the eye and speaks kind but solemn words to alert them to what they are about to experience.
Two, three or four adults are already sitting, to lend support and participate by listening.
On the altar, the candles are already lit, glowing golden against a deep purple backdrop. Above hang two pictures: the face of Christ with his hand raised to bless, and a reproduction of the Isenheim crucifixion with Mary and John on either side.
Silently, expectantly and yes, reverently, the boys step forward to stand side by side before the altar. There, the priest is waiting, clad in his white robes, with a shining silk cloak of the appropriate colours —usually lavender and deep gold— over his shoulders.
The mood is set. The service begins. Uplifting significant words, the Lord’s prayer, the Gospel reading. The boys sing… or at least, follow along as best they can while Jonah sings, “The sun is in my heart….”
The service ends with Claudia playing heavenly notes on her lyre, so the mood lingers for a little while.
Now it’s over. The boys scamper up the stairs and soon head out into their world again. But I know that what they have experienced —hearing sacred words, seeing beautiful and holy images, speaking that all-important response to the priest — will work into their souls in a lasting, helpful and meaningful way.
p.s. Also highly recommended for adults!